“A DREAM written down with a date becomes a GOAL. A goal broken down into STEPS becomes a PLAN. A PLAN backed by ACTION makes your dreams come true”. Greg S. Reid
Once the vision or what could be named the dream of the ecological transition for the organisation is defined (cf. Step 2), the next step is to design the path to go and achieve the objective settled in the vision. Step 3 is a more practical step since it defines both the strategies and plan that will be developed and the actions to be carried out.
At Darwin Ecosystem, once the vision of a “zero waste” ecosystem by 2025 was expressed, the team of pioneers developed its strategies and designed the PLAN or the path to go, starting from 2005 and going towards 2025.
The plan follows the chosen strategies and consists in a set of ACTIONS and TIMING. It starts from an initial situation, i.e. STATE of the ART at the starting point.
Figure 1 : The path to achieve the Vision of a « Zero Waste » ecosystem by 2015, as expressed by the Pioneers of the Darwin Ecosystem in 2005
“The difference between a dream and a project is timing“, Walt Disney
What is a strategy needed for?
The strategy points out the overall path of the ecological transition. It describes how the organisation and the community are going to get things done to achieve the vision. It aims to broadly answer the question, “How do get to the vision starting from the initial situation?”. Then, the strategy is the broadly defined four or five key approaches the organisation will use to drive toward the vision.
In the case of the ecological transition, the strategy defines in particular the environmental issues the organisation will focus on, for instance:
- Climate change
- Food waste
- Sustainable mobility
- Sustainable building
- Circular Economy
It also takes into account the existing barriers and resources at the starting point that could interfere into the path on the way to the vision, on the basis of the state of the art of the current situation.
Why is important to start with a complete knowledge of the initial situation regarding the ecological transition of the organisation at the starting point of the path?
Every organisation, whatever is its progress on its way to ecological transition, should determine the state of the art of the situation at the starting point to help determining the strategy and the actions plan. From the starting situation, the strategy, the plan, the related actions and timing will be determined, by comparing the vision and final goals with the starting situation.
Elaborating the state of the art of the situation at the starting point of the project aims to point out the existing barriers and resources (partnership, funding, people, skills), the strengths and weaknesses of the organisation and how the organisation is tackling environmental issues and what actions are already in place to participate in the ecological transition (for instance, paper recycling, producing solar energy, prohibiting pesticides on the site, etc.).
What is the purpose of designing an action plan to achieve the vision of the ecological transition for an organisation?
The action plan is more specific than the strategy. It will help to turn the dream of the ecological transition into reality. Designing an action plan is an opportunity to make the organisation’s vision concrete by defining concrete actions to be carried out, in line with the strategy.
What is the plan of the ecological transition for an organisation composed by?
In line with the strategies, the plan determines the actions that should be implemented to achieve the vision. For instance: communication actions, training actions, IT tools to implement, funding to raise, partnerships to create, etc.
The plan is composed by actions, builds the roadmap, fixes priorities for action, and implements actions.
Four main phases must be followed to determine the strategy, design the plan and define the action steps:
Phase 1: Drawing up the state of the art of the ecological transition of the organisation / ecosystem at the starting point
Before determining the strategy that will be followed by the organisation to achieve the vision, it is worth drawing up the state of the art of the current situation regarding ecological transition. The objective is to know what is the given situation at the starting point of the project. This will allow highlighting the path to go before achieving the vision (cf. see Step 2).
Whatever is the progress of your organisation/ecosystem in the field of ecological transition,
The state of the art must study several environmental fields: waste, water, biodiversity, sustainable mobility, energy, building. An interesting method is to determine indicators such as:
- Number of kilos of waste
- Share of people who use bike to go to the place
- Volume of energy that is consumed monthly
- Volume of water that is consumed monthly
The state of the art must study barriers and resources. Such knowledge could be collected by interviewing key people from the community, from the leaders, from external stakeholders.
Phase 2: Determining the strategy
By using the outcomes of the state of art of the existing situation, the strategy will be defined by brainstorming. The contributors of the brainstorming will state the broadly four or five key approaches the organisation will use to drive toward the vision. (see Tool 1). Each key approach is linked to a strategic objective to be achieved. The achievement of all strategic objectives will contribute to achieve the vision.
Phase 3: Defining the actions plan
There are two useful tools that could be applied to determine actions and timing.
- Transformation map (see Tool 2): it is a visual representation of the path to go to achieve the goal, from the starting point to the goal. The path could be defined as the strategic planning process. The transformation map includes all of the important elements of the path: key actions, milestones, timelines. It shows what general actions need to be carried out and what outcomes need to be delivered over time to collectively realise the organisation’s vision and strategy. It can be undertaken once the vision and the strategy have been determined.
- The table of the set of actions: this table defines the “how”. For each specific action, the nature of the actions, the responsible persons and contributors, the deadlines should be determined. This table will be used all along the project to follow the implementation of the actions.
Phase 4: Taking the first step
Now, you are well equipped to start the adventure of the ecological transition for your organisation. Thanks to the table of actions and the community of responsible persons and contributors, it is time to take the first step. Good luck and enjoy!
Tool 1: Organising a brainstorm to determine the strategy to implement the ecological transition for the organisation (phase 2)
Tool 2: Mapping the transformation plan (phase 3)
Tool 3: Defining the set of actions (Phase 3)
Create your transformation maps for the ecological transition for your organisation and take picture of them. Post your photos on your favorite social network! (cf. Phase 2)